Festivals and Fairs in Bundi

People of Bundi joyfully celebrate various festivals and partake in local fairs. Holi, Dipawali, Dussehra, Gangaur, Teej, Rakshabandhan, Ram Navami, Krishna Janmashtami etc are celebrated with religious fervor. Popularly called as ‘Chhoti Kashi’, Bundi is a historical town in Hadoti region of Rajasthan that regales in its heritage colours. A large number of Jain and Muslim faithful also reside in Bundi and celebrate their festivals in harmonious ambience. Get detailed information regarding various festivals and fairs in Bundi.

Holi: Holi is a national festival and celebrated in every part of India with utmost gusto. Tradition of Holi is commemoration of incidents happened during Vedic times related to Prahlad, Hiranyakashyap, Holika and Nrisinghavatar, one of Lord Vishnu’s incarnations. It is held on the eve of Purnima (full moon) in the month of ‘Phalgun’. On this day, people enjoy by throwing coloured water on each other. It is called as festival of colours. Many kinds of sweets are prepared and generally ‘bhang’ is taken as an intoxicant. Before setting fire (Holika Dahan), the Holika, consisting of an upright pole round which wooden fuel is heaped, is worshipped.

Gangaur: It is held in the Chaitra month of Hindu calendar on the third day of the bright fortnight. Gangaur festival is celebrated throughout Rajasthan with immense religious fervor. But, it has a sad history of celebration in Bundi. While Maharao Raja Budh Singhji (1695 - 1738) of Bundi was engaged in wars in Kabul, his brother Jodh Singhji was looking after state. He led the procession to Jaitsagar at the time of this fair. While enjoying boating with all his nobles, a mad elephant came into the tank and struck against the boat overturning it and drowning the crew including Maharao Jodh Singhji. From that time the festival of Gangaur was stopped. It was again started by Rao Raja Raghubir Singhji, because of the birth of a son to him in the month of Chaitra but again it was stopped by Shri Ishwari Singhji who had no issue. So, those members of the royal family who had already finished their ‘puja’ prior to the unfortunate incident, still celebrate the Gangaur festival but a bit in subdued manner. There was a time when Gangaur fair of Bundi was more popular compared to Jaipur’s.

Teej: There are two fairs of Teej in Bundi, one is celebrated on the third day of the bright half of Shravan and the other on the third day of Bhadrapad. Both Teej and Gangaur are fairs to worship Goddess Parvati. There are three main Teej festivals – Kajari or Badi Teej, Hartalika Teej and Hariyali Teej. Kajari Teej is the most popular and visibly observed among other Teej festivals. Kajari or Kajali Teej is celebrated on the third day of Krishna Paksha of Bhadrapada month (August / September). Since Bhadrapad (colloquially called Bhado) is the month of rainy season or ‘monsoon’ therefore black clouds remain in the sky on this day. The Kajari or Kajali has been derived from the black clouds. Celebrated fifteen days after Hariyali Teej, Kajari Teej usually falls three days after Raksha Bandhan and five days prior Krishna Janmashtami. Kajari Teej is mainly a Hindu festival of women. On the occasion of Teej, women worship Goddess Parvati (Gauri) and observe fast. Moon, cows and ‘Neem’ trees are worshiped on the day of Kajari Teej. As per Hindu scriptures, Kajari Teej is the day of reunion of Goddess Parvati and Lord Shiva after a long period. Kajari Teej is celebrated by the people to welcome the monsoon after the hot summer. Teej is not only an important festival in Bundi but also has pan Rajasthan appeal. In the past, the rulers with great pomp and show used to march in procession in the main market and hold Darbar on the Rani Ji-ki-Baori at Chogan. People from the villages used to assemble in great numbers to enjoy the function. Now-a-days, a colourful procession of Goddess Gauri in palanquin is taken out.

Rakshabandhan: Several stories related to Rakshabandhan have narrated in various Hindu scriptures. As per Bhavishya Puran, Lord Vishnu gave Shachi (consort of Indra) a cotton thread to tie it on Indra’s wrist. Indra, thereafter defeated demon king Bali and took possession of Amaravati. Another story finds mention in Bhagavat Purana & Vishnu Purana. After long penance, demon King Bali urged Lord Vishnu to stay in his palace and Vishnu had to agree. It is told in the Bhagavata Purana and Vishnu Purana that a king named Bali requested Lord Vishnu to stay in his palace. Lord Vishnu accepted this request and started living with King Bali. Goddess Laxmi wanted Lord Vishnu to come back in Vaikunth so she made King Bali her brother by tying a thread of protection. King Bali reciprocated by freeing Lord Vishnu to return to his eternal abode with Goddess Laxmi. Another instance related to Rakshabandhan is found in the stories of Mahabharat. When Shri Krishna picked up the Sudarshan Chakra to kill King Shishupal, his hand got got injured and started bleeding. Then, Draupadi tore a piece from her ‘sari’ and tied it on Shri Krishna's hand. In return, Shri Krishna had vowed to protect Draupadi from all future troubles. Festival of Rakshabandhan is celebrated in the Shravan month (August / September) of Hindu calendar on Purnima as elsewhere in India, when the sisters tie threads (rakhi) round the wrists of their brothers and wish a life-long relation of affection and welfare, present sweetmeats and a coconut to the brothers and receive presents from them.

Dussehra: Dussehra, also known as Vijayadashami, is a famous festival of the Hindus. The word 'Dussehra' is derived from the Sanskrit word combination 'Dash-Hara', which symbolically means the cessation of terror in the form of Ravan's killing by Lord Ram cutting off the ten heads of the demon. Lord Ram worshiped Goddess Durga in the form of 'Chandi Puja' on the last day of Nav-Ratri and the Goddess blessed him with victory. The next day (Dashami,i.e. tenth day) saw the end of Ravan at the hands of Lord Ram, which is why this day is also called Vijayadashami (i.e. the date of Lord Rama's victory over Ravana). Therefore, Dussehra is observed on the next day of Nav-Ratri to commemorate the victory of Ram over Ravan, the ten-headed giant, i.e., the victory of virtue over vice. An effigy of Ravan is prepared and burnt to symbolize the destruction of evil. Dussehra or Vijayadashami is related to not one, but two wars. The war between Lord Ram and Ravan ended on this day in Tretayuga while the famous war of Mahabharata in Dwaparayuga started on this day. In Bundi, ‘puja’ of khejri is performed.

Dipawali: Known as festival of light, Dipawali is one of the most gaily celebrated festivals of the Hindus and observed throughout Indian landscape. The festival of lamps is sacred for the worship of Goddess Laxmi to whom various sweetmeats, ‘khila’ and sugar toys are offered. Some people also enjoy gambling, thinking it as their day of luck for the whole year. The ‘gwalas’ come with heed (a deepak tied to a piece of sugarcane) and sing folk songs and get rewards from the people. Cleaning of houses and furniture is a necessary preliminary to this festival.

Makar Sankranti: An important religious festival, Makar Sankranti always falls on the 14th January, and is marked by the use of ‘til’ and ‘til-ka-laddoos’ and out-door games which are enjoyed even by the elderly people. The young boys enjoy kite flying.

Basant Panchmi: Basant Panchami is a festival that marks celebration of the advent of the season of spring. It is celebrated on the fifth day of the bright half of the month of Magh. In Hindu scriptures, it is also mentioned as Rishi Panchami. Saraswati, the goddess of knowledge and learnings, is worshipped on this occasion. Kavi-Sammelan, Kavi Darbar and many other literary activities are organized by the learned people. Saffron coloured or ‘basanti’ clothes are put on and sweets are prepared. In rural areas, singing in accompaniment of bhang begins.

Anna Koot: It is celebrated on on Kartik Shukla Pratipada, the day following Dipawali when several kinds of vegetables and sweets are prepared and enjoyed after offering to the family deity. The day marks the arrival of fresh harvest. In big temples Chhapan-Bhog (fifty-six items of food) are arranged before Lord Krishna. In villages, cows and bulls are worshipped.

Shri Krishna Janmashtami: It is celebrated as the birth day of Lord Krishna on the eighth day of the dark half of Bhadrapad when people keep fast, visit temples and take their meals after midnight, the time when Lord Krishna was born. Krishna Janmashtami is celebrated across India with great pomp. Bundi also observes this festival with utmost sanctity and geity. Chaturmas, the four months of rainy season, is associated with the worship of Lord Vishnu and his incarnations. Krishna Janmashtami is the first festival of worshipping Vishnu’s incarnation in Chaturmas.

Ganesh Chauth: Ganesh Chauth, also called Gansh Chaturthi, is the birth anniversary of Lord Ganesh. It falls on the fourth day of the bright half of Bhadrapad. It is also called Danda Chauth. Young boys of school sing songs on ‘dandas’ and sweets are given to them by elderly persons. God Ganesh is worshipped on this day.

Other fairs and festivals are Anant Chaturdashi, Ram Navami, Akshya Tritiya, Karva Chauth and Rishi Panchmi. These are religious functions when people worship gods and keep fasts. Most of these fairs are seasonal. Some fairs are also celebrated in the memory of heroes like Tejaji.

Some of the Jain festivals which are celebrated in Bundi are as under…………

Mahavir Jayanti: It is the birthday of Mahavir. The Jains celebrate this day by taking out processions of picture of Mahavir and keep fast. It falls on the thirteenth day of bright half of Chaitra.

Paryushan: During these days the Jains keep fast for the purification of soul. It is observed in the month of Bhadrapad.

Samvatsari: Samvatsari marks the successful termination and observation of Paryushan Parva like the Id of the Muslims after the Ramzan fasts. Both Digambari and Swetambari Jains celebrate this day and beg pardon from every individual for any wrong they might have committed to them.

Some of the Muslim festivals which are celebrated in Bundi are as under…………

Moharram: All Muslim festivals of the district are similar to those in other parts of India. According to the Muslim calendar this commemoration falls on the tenth day of the month of Moharram and is in the memory of the martyrs Imam and Hussain, who sacrificed their lives for the cause of Islamic democracy against the autocratic government of Yazid.

Bara-Wafat: The twelfth day of Rabi-ul-Awval is celebrated as the birthday of the prophet Mohammed. The lives of Muslim saints and reformers are recited and their instructions and principles of life are laid before the people. The holy Quran is also recited.

Shab-e-Rat: This festival is a counterpart of the Hindu Shradh-Paksha. The Muslims offer ablutions to their deceased forefathers and distribute food among the poor.

Ramzan: This is the holy month in which fasting is observed for one full month every year, accompanied by prayers.

Id-ul-Fitar: This festival marks the successful termination of Ramzan month. Prayers in mass are offered in mosques and this is an occasion of feasting, merry-making and exchange of visits from friends.

Id-ul-Zuha: This festival falls on the ninth and tenth day of the month of Zilhij. The Muslims of the world go for a Haj to Arabia and perform their necessary religious traditions on the 9th and the 10th day by offering mass prayers. They also perform sacrifices in order to remind the soldierly spirit of the son of Hazrat Ibrahim.

Urs of Muslim Saints: There have been two Muslim saints in this district whose urs or death anniversaries are celebrated; one is that of Miran Saheb at Miran-hill and another of Jar-peer at Balapura in Bundi.

A large number of local fairs are held in Bundi. Find a list of fairs in Bundi as under……..

Shitalashtami: It falls on the eighth day of the dark half of Chaitra and is a day sacred to Shitala, the goddess of small pox when food prepared at night before is offered to the deity and enjoyed.

Shivratri Fair: It falls on the fourteenth day of the dark half of Phalgun. It is called the Mahashivratri day. A small fair is held at Baij Nath Mahadev and another at Rameshwarji-ka-Nala in the north-east part of the city. The people observe fast and worship God Shiva on this day.

Tejaji-ka Mela: It falls on the tenth day of bright half of Bhadrapad. Tejaji had been a great hero of Rajasthan who sacrificed his life in order to protect cows. He became a martyr for the cause of Satya and Dharma and is worshipped as a deity throughout Rajasthan. It is believed that cases of snakebite are cured if a string is tied round the neck of the person in the name of Tejaji.

Kartik Purnima Fair: This fair is held at Keshoraipatan, and lasts for seven days. The people observe fast and worship Lord Shiva.

Jhoju-ka-Mela: In the month of Asharh, four fairs are celebrated on every Sunday at Phool Sagar in the memory of a brave Bhil named Jhoju who was killed by a tiger on the spot where his epitaph stands outside the palace building.

Two fairs of Sukhia Somwar: In the month of Shravan on first two Mondays these fairs are celebrated. The first fair was formerly celebrated at Kedareshwar but being very far off, it has now been shifted to Jait Sagar. The second fair, called Ganesh-ka-Mela, is celebrated at Deopura in Ganesh-ka-Bagh. These are celebrated for the enjoyment of scenery and picnics.

Chamunda Fair: This fair is held on the eighth day of the dark half of Shravan at the hill of Taragarh, where there is a temple of Kali.

Hariyali Amavas: It falls in the middle of Shravan. It is also called Choburja-ka Mela and is held on a hilly spot where every part of the city of Bundi is in view. It is a seasonal fair, celebrated for enjoying scenery.

Dol Yatra Fair: It falls on the eleventh day of the bright half of Bhadrapad. On this day the statue of Shri Rang Nath Ji with other idols is carried from the Rang Nath Temple in procession to Ram Talai near Jait Sagar. The ruler worships all the idols and accompanies the procession on foot up-to Ram Talai. Before merger, red sticks were distributed by the ruler to all officers and other attendants in the procession. The story behind this tradition of distributing red sticks to the courtiers is fascinating one. During Aurangzeb's time all the Rajput rulers attending his court used to take out Viman of Ram on this day to the Yamuna. Once this festival coincided with Id when Aurangzeb ordered the rulers to attend the Id function and not the Dol Yatra, Rao Raja Bhao Singh refused to comply with the orders and took the leading part in conducting the Dol Yatra. Lathis were distributed to all the princes who attended the procession under the pretext of using them as support of the Viman, but really to be used as weapons of defence against any danger. From that time started the tradition of distributing red sticks to the attendants by the ruler in the place of lathis.

Badi Bundi Fair: It falls on the eleventh day of the bright half of Asharh. There is story about the fair that in Marwar, a Muslim ruler of Sind forcibly abducted a Rajput girl. The girl requested her relatives for help and on their failing to do so committed suicide. The unmarried girls celebrate this fair, sing songs in the memory of the deceased girl, prepare dolls in her memory and throw them into water in the rainy season.

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